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Published: Monday, 11/23/2009

TARTA to reduce service by 12% after Christmas

BLADE STAFF

The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority will cut service by 12 percent on Dec. 27, but maintain service on holidays and Sunday mornings instead of eliminating it as previously proposed, the transit authority has announced.

Buses will run on six major holidays — New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — only between 7:15 a.m. and 3 p.m., instead of a normal Sunday schedule. Sunday service will be reduced, with buses running only from 7:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

To offset the cost of restoring some holiday service and operating longer hours on Sundays than previously proposed, the number of weekday trips for many routes will be cut. Buses that now run hourly during weekday off-peak hours will run every 80 or 90 minutes instead. Buses that now run every 30 minutes during those times will run every 40 or 45 minutes instead.

TARTA also will eliminate several lightly used commuter express routes and drop weekend service on several lightly used routes.

The service changes were approved last week by the TARTA board of trustees routes and schedules committee, and the transit authority now is updating its Web site and getting new timetables printed for distribution on board buses and at major stations and library branches.

Transit authority fares will not change before the new year begins. James Gee, the agency's general manager, said Monday afternoon that TARTA officials will review their year-end financial results before deciding whether to propose a fare increase later in 2010.

The service cuts are expected to save the transit authority about $1.8 million in expenses. That will offset a $900,000 forecast decline in the authority's revenue from its two property levies plus provide breathing room for rising costs, Mr. Gee said.



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